My Memories of Savak Interrogations

Sam Ghandchi


In 1974, after finishing university, I returned to Iran to live and work.  In a little while, I was summoned to a Savak center.  They had an interrogation session for me.  They started like this: khAr***, mAdar***, k*sk*sh, j*k*sh, pedar*, what did you think you are doing criticizing the Shah in the U.S.?


What had I done that was so criminal in their mind?  I had simply wanted Shah's government to observe the human rights, democracy and respect the *rule of law*.  When I had been a student in the U.S., I was in the Iranian Students Association (Confederation of Iranian students) in the U.S.


Confederation had asked for freedom of political prisoners. We had condemned Shah's regime for torturing and murdering the opposition. Basically confederation of Iranian students called for observation of human rights and democracy in Iran and fought against violations of human rights by the Shah’s regime.  I left the West for Iran and was not abroad at the time of the 1976 split of the Confederation.  In my time, all forces of opposition from Jebhe Melli to the Islamists and leftists were in one Confederation.


But weren't all these part of Iran's Constitution of 1906?  Why asking Shah's government to stop violations of human rights and to have a democratic system and respect the rule of the law was so harshly received.


In fact, even years before that, in 1332, my cousin (pesar amoo), who was with Jebhe Melli, had been shot by Shah's police on the occasion of Nixon's trip to Iran.  They were the three who were killed on 16 Azar 1332.  Shariat-Razavi, Ghandchi, and BozorgniA.  Again the victim of Shah's disrespect for law.  That used to be called rooz-e dAneshjoo.  Their fault was doing a student strike which is a right for students.  And before that, following the coup of 28-Mordad 1332, Dr. Hossein Fatemi was murdered by Shah’s soldiers, because of being outspoken about dictatorship in Iran, and even he refers to their treatment of his wife who had nothing to do with politics.


I think Savak actually helped the downfall of monarchy in Iran.  It made the reformers ineffective and left the only option to be the overthrow of the regime.


The ones who are in the footsteps of Savak acting for IRI, are doing the same service for IRI.  I just hope the same bloodshed does not happen and [peacefully] be able to establish the road of moderation this time.


When I see supporters of former monarchy speaking of the past, I wonder why they do not remember those days and how they kept silent about the actions of Savak.  Today they try to speak in the soft tone but who would dare to challenge them in those days.


Now they wonder why so many people hate monarchy.  Some of them still do not condemn the Savak.  When the best of Iranian intellectuals were called kharAb-kAr and doshman-e Iran by Savakis, and these supporters of the system were silent.


The real enemies of Iran were not the intellectuals who were asking for democracy.  The real enemies were the Savakis themselves who had made Iran a big jail to [im]prison any thought of democracy.  And all the government functionaries from Ali Amini to Dariush Homayoun kept silent about it and they let Iranian intellectuals to suffer.


When law is broken by the ones who should uphold it, then revolutions happen which will change the law and the ones in charge of upholding the law.


The same Savakis are now doing their murderous acts in the name of Islam.  These people have no respect for Islam or Iran.  They are bunch of sick people who should never have the authority or power in the first place.


I hope the broken mansions of the ones who felt mighty, when riding their horse those days, can give the ones who are doing the same today, a lesson, and history not to repeat itself again:


hAn ey del-e ebrat bin

az dideh ebar kon hAn

eyvAn-e madAen rA

Aiineh-e ebrat dAn.


Sam Ghandchi



Postscript July 28, 2003-There are people today who try to show that Savak was not that bad and they work hard to whitewash my experiences. The attacks of Savak on me is not comparable to what others experienced, who died under the Savak tortures, and are not living to tell their stories.  The stories that started even before Savak was formed, when the journalist Karimpour Shirzai was burned to death and Dr. Hossein Fatemi was killed following the coup of 28-mordad.  Yes, the broken bottle in victim's rectum, murder of pregnant activists, and all other forms of killing and rape was the language of Savak and those who try to whitewash Savak better be ashamed of themselves, especially if they have been part of that criminal organization. For Iranian people, Savak atrocities are not just so-called "mistakes have happened", and they were the heinous crimes of Shah's regime against a generation of Iranian political activists, and those crimes are not a personal issue about Jack and Jill ,and were *political* reality of crimes against humanity committed by Shah's regime.  Below is the documented information about Savak and how Savak apparatus was all used by IRI to create Vevak.  Even the notorious Evin prison used by Savak is still in use by IRI's Vevak up to this day for torture, forced confessions, and murder:


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* The original article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on Oct 22, 1998